Hockey Education – Beyond X’s & O’s – Importance of Education
Just a quick hello and thank you to all my international readers! While the overwhelming majority of our readers are here in the US and Canada, we also have subscribers from 30 other countries world wide!!! So a big hello to our Scandinavian (Sweden, Finland, Norway), Eastern European (Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Belarus) and various other worldwide readers and subscribers (Germany, Israel, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, and Australia, just to name a few!).
My last article [Does Anyone Really Care about Education? ] discussed the situation where even when you have sorted out your CHL or NCAA Athletic Scholarship, can you actually get into the school that you want to? Not to mention are you ready to survive a full time academic work load along with a full time playing career?
This article will look in-depth as to what it takes for a Hockey Player to get into a top flight Canadian and / or US University and what expectations Junior players should have once they have finished their amateur careers.
I’ll use my alma mater of Simon Fraser University as an example. While they are currently a BCIHL University team, not a CIS club, this example should be relevant to our discussion as it is a mid-level sized college that accepts WHL Scholarship monies and is typically highly ranked and comparable to most of the top flight CIS institutions. SFU has been rated as Canada’s best comprehensive university (in 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011) in the annual rankings of Canadian universities in Maclean’s magazine since 1991.
Admission to SFU is understandably competitive. The average Grade Point Average for admission has ranged from 80% to 90%, depending on the program.
You need to honestly assess your own grades to see if you will even qualify to get into such a university. Just because you have that fancy CHL scholarship money in your pocket doesn’t mean you will find anyone willing to let you spend it!
If you are still in high school, ensure that you core courses are sorted out properly. If you are done school double check to make certain you have the required courses and if necessary try to upgrade a course or two in the summer or take an online course so you have more options.
I’m not trying to burst anyone’s bubble, but if you are in the WHL or OHL, even if you were drafted or went to an NHL rookie camp, most of you are not ready to step right into the NHL or any pro league at 18 let alone 21. Considering there are approximately 5 players from the 2011 draft year actually staying in the NHL for their entire rookie campaign, this seems to be a reasonable conclusion. The undeniable fact is that after your 20 year old year in the CHL, you are still NOT ready for the AHL let alone the NHL. People let their ego’s get in the way of the facts in this matter. Simply put, unless an NHL team has you under contract and is willing to let you develop in the AHL, providing you with Ice-time you aren’t ready for, regardless of the outcome, you are likely to have trouble even earning top 3 line ice-time in the ECHL.
I would argue that most players coming out of the CHL are best served if they plan on using at least 1 or 2+ years of their WHL/OHL scholarship money to build the foundation of your future academic career while continuing to develop your hockey training and skills development. If you defy the odds and make it to the pro level directly then that’s well done, but I think it is better to be prepared for every eventuality.
Even if you are planning on using your scholarship money for a trade school or to get your Metal working certification, pre-plan and ensure that there aren’t any unseen hurdles that could block you from using your scholarship money when you want to and before your 18 month window of opportunity closes!
So overall, spending a few years at the University level would certainly be beneficial. Not only would you begin to build your academic future, you would be allowing yourself sufficient time to grow, improve and develop into a professional player.
BONUS: A Quick SnapShot of USA/CANADIAN College Core Courses
The mini-charts below provide the generally acceptable core courses for Canadian Universities as provided by SFU. I hope that these course outline requirements give you a basic understanding of what you need to have on your transcripts if you want to move on.
*These charts are NOT everything you need to know, just the basic essentials. Please make certain double check your specific college’s requirements while using this as a basic guideline only.*
CANADA: You need 4 Grade 12 core courses that average 80-90%+ to get into the university as well as the normal range of pre-requisites Grade 10-11 core courses.
SFU 2012 Approved Grade 12 Courses
• BC First Nations studies 12 • Japanese 12
• Calculus 12 • Law 12
• Comparative Civilization 12 • Mandarin 12
• Economics 12 • Philosophy 12
• English Literature 12 • Principles of Math 12
• French or Français Langue Seconde 12 • Punjabi 12
• German 12 • Social Justice 12
• History 12 • Spanish 12
• Sustainable Resources 12 • Biology 12
• Physics 12 • Chemistry 12
• Geology 12 • Geography 12
USA Division 1: For your quick reference, to get into a Division 1 NCAA College, in addition to an above average SAT score, you need 16 of the Core Courses outlined below!
DIVISION I – 16 CORE-COURSE RULE
2 Social Science.
5 Additional Approved courses